Refreshing, decluttering, reorganizing, and making changes


Wow. Wow! Oh wow.  It’s been a long time since I did a post here.  Well… life has been filled with things to do.  I’m still poking around at my genealogy research.  And yes, I have made a few breakthroughs on some level.  I haven’t broken through any of my major “brick walls” or shall I say “ancestor-documentation-blocks”… or whatever you want to call it.  I still have a grandfather who was adopted and a great-grandfather who was a Smith.  Oye!

Ah, anyway…

I’ve wanted to post many times, yet life had a few other plans over the past few years.  Now, I’m working on refreshing, decluttering, reorganizing, and in general… making a few life-changes with what, where, when, why, how, and any other question related to life at the moment.  Changes are a foot.  Cleansing is a foot.  And yes… last week I hurt my big toe really badly on my foot.  Maybe a sprain, maybe dislocated, maybe even broke my big toe… don’t know.  The bruising, after growing and swelling, started to move and slowly improve.  Until the day I get it X-rayed… I won’t know if I can ever say I’ve never broken a bone in my body anymore… so until then I just need to cease that thought and let it be.

Onward to the genealogy… I’m working on a Genealogy Do-Over… well sort of.  First up, has been the fact that I’m doing somewhat of the same process with my life.  And there is lots to do there that takes precedence.  Once I get some more valuable, precious time to work on some genealogy in deeper depths… then I will continue with that process as I go.  Right now, my current status-quo is… to continue to “chip away” at something to improve on every single day… and that is what I’m doing…. slowly… it will all get better is my newest phrase of the year!

As for taking new approaches, this I’m excited about.  It was long overdue and sincerely needed.  One new approach I’m loving is adding DNA into the genealogical research mix.  I’m hoping to make some progress with the research with the assistance of more family members getting their DNA tested.  Plus, I reconnected with some family in person at a cousin’s wedding last October, which was so beautiful and gorgeous!  I was giving a few bits of clues and potential leads that once time allows, I will dig in and see what I can discover!  I’m already using a few of those clues as I poke around… when life allows.

I also want to re-look at this website and see where I may want it to evolve to as well.  It’s definitely past due on my attention.  Yet, I want it to be a tool to share!  Anyway, there was nothing incredibly substantial to say.  However, I needed to break that thin ice layer that has been lurking in my thoughts for a few years… and see past that veil to get to where I aim to be.

So, let me at least give a nugget of good genealogy news…

A bunch of months ago, I had a breakthrough to Charlemagne and beyond… Now whether or not some of that history has been recorded as accurately as it could be… Well, with my french-canadian connections, it was bound to come about.  And I had held off long enough from that one.  I connected the family cousin lines with a few more celebrities, historical figures, and of course some cousins!  Yay, what a joy to find some closer cousins… connected through my paternal grandmother’s lineage.

Plus, as a bonus I got another family member to DNA test and I now have a clue as to what my paternal haplogroup is; which will help further solve some of the DNA relative connection issues as to which side of the family our “DNA lead” may assist with the discovery of how we are connected cousins.  If only I could get more family to DNA test and then the DNA aspect could have some great potential for some bigger breakthroughs.  Happy Birthday Skeeter!  Yup, I’m wishing myself a very happy birthday!  May my journey this year lead to lots of abundant, fruitful, and blessed discoveries!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What’s Your Ancestral Name Number?

What’s My Ancestral Name Number?

A few weeks ago, I was working on calculating “my Ancestral Name Number”… that is… my direct ancestors back 10 generations or so that I have “identified” in some capacity.  I was working on my spreadsheet and thought I was “all done” up to this point in my research right now.  Ha!

My Ancestor Number

I got a short one-line message from someone through one of my accounts… about having info on a Surname that is on my list.  So, I went digging on that Surname… and found 8 of my 7th great-grandparents from one line on my Paternal Garon side that I apparently didn’t do too much digging on.  Plus, there are more additions too… so “my Ancestral Name Number” has once again grown via “breaking thru this brick wall of sorts”… thanks to much research from others researching those same Surnames.

I’m still working my way through the influx of additional ancestors and how it all fits together and gather more clues & details.  It takes time filling in such clues, details, and various bits to make sure it connects right.  Plus, verifying sources & records online when applicable.  It just takes time…  I really do appreciate all the “cousins” that share their family trees and research online… because without you… the change in my pocket would be… well the dogs appreciate their treats!  Besides many other reasons too… for all family, cousins, and distant cousins… we need each other to show the growth of our huge family tree and how we are all related!

I’m excited… and yes “my family history” will always be a work-in-progress!  And this is why I always say “it’s a huge project” and I need all the “cousin/family” help I can get!  Truly, I do need “cousin assistance”… why? My family is huge and thus there’s a lot of branches!

These were a few blog posts that caught my good attention to this little challenge: (thanks to all who have shared!)

Family History All Done? What’s Your Number? – by Crista Cowan

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What’s Your Ancestral Name Number? – Genea-Musings by Randy Seaver

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What’s Your Ancestral Name Number? – Documenting The Details by Linda McCauley

More lost than found – The Legal Genealogist by Judy G Russell

What’s Your Number? (…and an Epiphany) – GenBlog by Julie Cahill Tarr

Hopefully soon, I will give my Updated “Ancestral Name Number”!  Another Saturday Night… Maybe…

PS. This is thru the Paradis Surname side for my family… and most of it matches up very nicely with some bits and clues I got from Grand-Aunt Doris!

PPS.  This also showed me that I must revise my Surname page to hopefully help display those a bit better to help a cousins doing genealogy that stumble upon it… along with myself for good reference outside of my family tree file.

Personal Knowledge Sourcing! – Genealogy Tip

This issue has come to my attention in various genealogical places, blogs, family trees, etc.  A long while ago, an uncle of mine was so kind to share some of his “genealogy research with me (i.e. he sent me his GEDCOM file).  And when I was looking at it, I saw some discrepancies.  Now, I considered them to be huge mistakes!  Yet, in truth… we’ve all done it!  Yes, I’m referring to the most common simple mistakes that involve fingers and a keyboard (aka. typing!).  So, I can’t jump on my uncle for such little details, when I know that mine are more accurate, right?!  Nor do I want to embarrass him for potentially having one of his siblings birthdate or birth year wrong, do I?  No!  Because it could have been a typo!  Maybe someone’s eyes just didn’t see it!

And if it wasn’t sourced either, then who gave my uncle those details?  Did it come from grandma or a sibling or his brain or his too-fast typing fingers?!  And even if it was sourced, do I bug whoever was the source to state that it was incorrect?  When dealing with family or other genealogists, we must be very gentle when discussing those discrepancies!  Or do we just change it to our info because we know without a doubt that it’s right?  And even so, do we stake a claim by listing ourselves was the source (or our mother?! or grandma?!).  And yes, this makes sharing a bit sensitive too.  For if a family member finds one, single mistake in our family tree, do they discount the accuracy of all your research or at least a part of it?  Have we lost our reputation as a “genealogist”?  I’m just saying…  please, please, think about the possible assumptions that can be deduced or the drama that can unfold attempting to debate the details.

I’m sorry, yet I do not have all official documentation on my living ancestors!   I may have my birth certificate, yet seriously… do I have all the rest of my immediate families birth certificates?  No!  I wish… though!  Yet, we are not allowed to get those that easily and again… it takes gentle asking and a lot of generosity and understanding that it is for research and historical purposes only.  I’m not out to do harm to my living family… I love them too much!

Thus begins… the Genealogy Tip of “Personal Knowledge Sourcing”!

When adding source information that is based on “personal knowledge”, like your personal knowledge, then please add your full name and some identifying info of “who you are” when stating “personal knowledge”.  I say this, for a few reasons, but mostly because when I see it I am immediately wondering whose “personal knowledge”.  I can assume based on whoever made the statement or said it or was the “genealogist” on that particular family tree.  Yet, I don’t like assumptions.  Why?

Oh come on, I hope you have some thoughts about this!  And that you have to have at the least clue as to the reasons to not make assumptions… especially if you’re into genealogy!  (It’s amazing how often we do this?!) Wink! Wink!

Okay then.  Let’s not make other people who might see our “family history documentation” have to think so much and wonder “whose personal information”.  Because with that type of detail in a source, the assumptions will default to the provider of the documentation, when it could have been your grandma that gave you the personal information.  Let’s not say that grandma is fibbing or recollecting the events/descriptions/dates askew; it might be that is just what she’s remembered of “her story” of those events/descriptions/dates and relayed it to you “the genealogist aka family historian”.

Now, this is not easy practice because it makes you think about where did you learn of this “personal knowledge”.  Yes, where?  From whom?

Most of mine, quite a high percentage of some of my “personal knowledge” truly came from my mother (officially… a long time ago…).  Now, in my life I may have seen and/or witnessed documentation of that “personal knowledge”.  Yet, if I pass it on and just state “personal knowledge” and you assume that that knowledge came directly from me, then you might miss some potential skewing due to the fact that it may have originated as some “personal knowledge story” from my mother.  Everyone has played the game of “telephone” once in their lives I hope.  In a nutshell, when passing things down, details and descriptions can get at tiny-weenie-bit skewed at times and the more that story is retold, then it gets more and more skewed.

Now, as much as us “genealogists” would like to think we’re covering our sources well.  Even we can open ourselves up to this skewing potential too.  I would love to assume that I’ve heard the details totally right all along, yet time fades some details depending on the events/descriptions/dates.  Now, when we write or record our “little story bits”, then we should mark the time we are doing so.  This way, in the future, if someone gets your documentation of their family history, then they will have some marker to place that information that you shared as “personal information”.  So, please give your full name and the date at a minimum plus where to the absolute best of your own knowledge did you learn that personal information!

What else do you think should be included as your “identification” when stating that something is “Your Personal Information” and where that knowledge came from?  I’d love to hear some more ideas!  Any other suggestions for wrangling this dilemma?

Hidden & Lost Cemeteries

I’m curious!  Very curious!  After all these years doing genealogy, it finally occurred to me to ask this question.  Are you curious as to what the question that popped into my head?  Well, if you’re still here then you are!  So, here’s the backstory and the question too…

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I went to an overnight camp for one week originally.  I ended up loving it so much during the first week each summer that right at the end when I should have been going home, I begged my parents to let me stay another week.  And I lucked out and was allowing to stay for a second week!  And yes, I was lucky because usually I didn’t get the “yes” answer when I wanted something.  Yet, I wanted to stay so bad!  I had an absolute blast at camp no matter what challenges or obstacles I faced.  And believe me, I had some challenges for that time and age and even height!

Okay, then so I’m sure you’re still wondering where I’m going with this and how could it possibly relate to genealogy or even so an interesting question too.  Well, stick with me and let me go on.

I went to Camp St Malo, which was a catholic camp and also is no longer a camp.  A few years after I was a camper there, it closed down and was turned into a catholic retreat center (and yes one of the pope’s stayed there once).  Anyway, there were weeks during the summer for just boys and then girls weeks too.  Yet, the counselors were mixed genders with rules of which gender stayed with the campers for sleep time.  At this camp, there were some mandatory activities and some “choosable” activities.  During the very beginning of each week session, you were sent with your unit group to the main dining hall to select your activities and set your week’s schedule.  Some of the mandatory activities were horseback riding, archery, riflery, a day or overnight hike (easy, medium or hard), etc. for example.  Those stick out in my mid as mandatory because I probably wouldn’t have done those if I didn’t have to.  Especially since there were so many other activities too, some of which were crafts, candle making, leather making, stain glass making, sports, ropes course, swimming (in a meteor-filler lake – so the story went that the counselors told), fishing, etc.  I loved pretty much all of the activities and we enjoyed movie nights too.  Now none of that truly matters in this story, yet one little bit does lead to the question.  And that is horseback riding.  Yes, horseback riding was for sure a mandatory activity, that I know!   Now, the particulars of the “horseback riding” requirement is a little more fuzzy after all these years.  I know we had to do “something at the barn” as we campers would say.  And that usually meant take a trail ride on a horse at least twice during the week.  So, we would take horseback trail rides back in the woods where there were approved trails for us to use and trail ride on.

The horseback trail rides would go off somewhere in the back woods of near the camp and that is all I know since I was young and even though I had good directional sense, I couldn’t tell you now exactly or even roughly where that was.  All I can say is where that camp was.  It was situated alongside the Peak to Peak highway near Peaceful Valley or as camp always referred to its location as near Allenspark, CO.  We were close to Estes Park and a number of the hikes and overnights happened in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Apparently, last November there was a major fire that happened to the main retreat facility and sadly its been closed since then.  The biggest sad thing though was that the actual camp was closed and it was turned into a retreat center.  Now, that is just an opinion and not to stay that the retreat center was worth its existence too.  Yet, I love the overnight camp experience and wish more kids could do that at least once in their life!  It is truly an worthwhile experience, no matter the challenges or discoveries or friends that you make.  The most recognizing landmark though was the little “Chapel on the Rock” that was close to the highway where our camp church services were held officially called Saint Catherine of Siena’s Chapel.  It was the only time I was ever allowed to be an “alter girl” because that week there were no boys there to serve as the alter boys since the church only allowed “alter boys” to serve those catholic services functions.  Yet, the girls week a camp were an exception and I got to get a bit of training and actually was an alter girl for one service!  Lots of “Catholic” people like to get married there if they can.  Some of trail rides went near Mt Meeker Campground, which is nearby too.   So somewhere in and around this area is where I saw something that makes me wonder now and hence the genealogical question.

At least one of these trail rides during either of those two summers, I recall seeing some gravestones during our trail ride.  During one of those summers I remember one of the counselors making some story up about the haunted spirits and ghosts and such (the attempt to give those spooky camp stories) when we paused near those gravestones on the trail ride.  I recall that the some of the gravestones were quite faded, old, and weathered, yet if we could have gotten off of the horses and taken a closer look that some the names could have been read.  And I do remember reading a name or two, however, I never remembered those names after the trail ride was over for very long.  Yet, I was like 11 or 12 years old then and this was during the early 1980’s.  What did I care about some unknown group of gravestones as a kid?  Yet, I was curious, so curious!  Why, you ask?  Because I was in the middle of nowhere!  It was not an accessible cemetery at all!  In order to find it, you had to travel by horseback on one of those trails the camp was authorized to travel on.  Up to that point in my life, I drove by cemeteries or walked in the one that my two grandfathers were buried in a Catholic cemetery.  That was my only true reference point.  I thought it was so odd to have a little, unfenced, random cemetery with a handful to a dozen or so of headstones out in the middle of the mountains.  Yet, it could have been a family grouping or a group of those “westward frontier” travelers or homesteaders.  I recall that there were two headstones somewhat close to the other groupings of a couple too.  My question is actually quite a few questions because one question leads to another.  Those headstones were someone’s ancestors!

Being a genealogist / family historian for the past 15+ years, if one of those gravestones were one of my ancestors, well then I would want to be able to find those for my documentation and proof.  I would want to take a digital photo and transcribe whatever was still legible and also mark it’s location.  Now the big question is this.  How would anyone find it?  I doubt that it would be findable on or some other similar website.  I doubt that it would be found in some directory of cemeteries since most are in towns, cities, etc. and most funeral homes wouldn’t have a record of those burials either.  And this was just a little grouping of some headstones that it took horseback riding or back woods hiking to get to.  So, I wish that… if I could have… I would have done all that transcription, photo-taking, location-marking skills I know now… back then… and make some record of that discovery and share it somehow for those ancestors to find.  Yet alas, I couldn’t have gotten off my horse and spent a few hours doing such a task and interrupting the trail ride like that.  We probably needed to get back for another meal.  Besides, I was a kid and the camp counselors would not have let me do that!  Especially without serious questions about me or as to what purpose it served or why would I care, among many other questions.

Anyway, that leads me to this day and the questions that arise from this situation and experience.  Has anyone out there been on horseback riding excursions and come across some gravestones?  Has anyone taking a hike in the mountains, grasslands, or any other more remote location and come across gravestones?  And if so, has anyone documented those for whoever’s ancestors those headstones belong to might be able to discover that documentation you got from your travels?  I’m so curious if anyone else discovered that little grouping headstones and passed that information onward to help someone find their ancestors!  If I were more able to go searching for this location and do a good genealogical deed, then I would.  Unfortunately,  I’m just not able to do that at this stage of my life (I have MS after all) and I’m not in a position to do that type of adventure.  Yet, I wish and hope someday that someone else could and would for those ancestors to have their acknowledgment and legacy passed on somehow (plus a visitation of remembrance would be nice from their ancestors).  I’d even hope that anyone who does go on adventures like that and discovers some headstones on their journey would do that genealogical good deed by transcribing the gravestones, taking some photos of the area, and marking that location on a map with the even greater contribution of making that information findable too!

You may not be able to find every stone (to turn over…)… yet if you do, then please care about that stone (and share that discovery with others…)!  Hint, hint!

Hello family!

Okay, wow!  Skeeter is finally here.  Yes, Skeeter finally created a blog.  This is RootsQuestory.  This is Skeeter’s blog space.  So, what to say… hmm…  hello my cousin, I’m Skeeter!

I’m excited to be here.  I hope this blog will touch your heart, reach your soul, and soak into your mind!

This is mostly a quest for my roots and their stories with this space to share share with my family.  My family is huge and there are so many of them!  I love all of them so much!  I want to share my genealogical stuff with them wherever they might be (spread out for sure!).

Plus, I want to share things related to genealogy that I can share as I have discovered, learned, and journeyed towards the knowledge I continually keep on that quest.

Roots.  Quest.  Story.


The funny thing about this post is that I have no idea what to write and share other than babble along as I slowly discover my writing voice that has been stifled most of my life.

For now, this is my “testing” post!  This way I have something to say to get started… because I’ve wanted to do this for so long.  Yet, I continue to let those voices inside my mind beat me into a bloody pulp… those voices have torn me up for long enough.  I’m going to do this.  It’s time for me to be heard.  So… so what if my writing is approved by any of my old english teachers.  The goal is expression and sharing.  Hence, that is what I will begin with.  I will attempt to shake off the rigorous writing skills that catholic school drills into someone and hopefully over time I will find my true style and true voice at least as far as writing goes.  It’s time to move past the formal and be informal at times too.  The stories must be told!

Life is a story and a quest based on your roots!  Roots.  Quest.  Story.  Our Roots guide our Quest for our Story!  (I think this should be my tagline thus far!)

Strength, Courage, Wisdom, and Honesty are my guides on this journey!  Keep on Questing!